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Kabbalah series set at Modesto’s Congregation Beth Shalom

Rabbi Shalom Bochner, pictured here at CBS in 2015 with an antique Torah, will lead Kabbalah classes at the synagogue.
Rabbi Shalom Bochner, pictured here at CBS in 2015 with an antique Torah, will lead Kabbalah classes at the synagogue. Modesto Bee

The Jewish practice of Kabbalah will be featured in a series of classes at Modesto’s Congregation Beth Shalom.

Classes will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays from April 19 to June 7 at CBS and are open to the public in addition to members of the synagogue.

Kabbalah – also known as Jewish mysticism or magic – gained popularity over the past few decades, particularly in the 1990s when pop singer Madonna began touting its benefits.

“At its core, Kabbalah is an examination of spiritual energy, divine and human powers, and how to live with meaning and purpose,” according to a press release from Congregation Beth Shalom’s Rabbi Shalom Bochner. “While it is a part of traditional Judaism, it is widely studied and applied by people who practice other religions or identify with secular or even atheist perspectives.”

The series of classes, titled “Ancient Kabbalah and Self-Discovery,” will examine the Sephirot, or seven divine attributes. The first session will include an overview of Kabbalah and a summary of the 49 days of the Omer, which is the period of time between the start of Passover and Shavuot – the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, according to the release.

Kabbalah teaches that this seven-week period is a time for focusing on the divine attributes. Subsequent weeks will explore each individual attribute, or Sephira, and how to apply them in one’s life.

Bochner will be the class instructor, tapping into his years of experience teaching Jewish mysticism, according to the press release. No experience or knowledge of Hebrew is needed to participate.

Advanced registration is encouraged for the classes. Costs for the eight-week series is $40 for CBS members, $48 for nonmembers, or $7 per class for drop-ins. To register, email rabbi@cbsmodesto.org.

Congregation Beth Shalom is at 1705 Sherwood Ave. in Modesto. Call 209-571-6060 or see www.cbsmodesto.org.

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